Ramona Koval has been praised as a master of the interview genre, renowned for engaging writers in conversations that are incisive, provocative, and often funny.In this new collection, Speaking Volumes: conversationswith remarkable writers, she shares the most fascinating interviews from her 2005 book Tasting Life Twice, along with brand-new ones with some of the most impoRamona Koval has been praised as a master of the interview genre, renowned for engaging writers in conversations that are incisive, provocative, and often funny.In this new collection, Speaking Volumes: conversationswith remarkable writers, she shares the most fascinating interviews from her 2005 book Tasting Life Twice, along with brand-new ones with some of the most important writers of our times.Through Koval, we are privy to the extraordinary minds of Joseph Heller, Joyce Carol Oates, Mario Vargas Llosa, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, David Malouf, P. D. James, John Mortimer, Ian McEwan, Amos Oz, Gore Vidal, Harold Pinter, John le Carré, Barry Lopez, Malcolm Bradbury, William Gass, Judith Wright, Les Murray, Fay Weldon, A. S. Byatt, Margaret Drabble, Martin Amis, Toni Morrison, André Brink, John Banville, Jeanette Winterson, Hanif Kureishi, and Anne Enright, among others....
|Title||:||Speaking Volumes: Conversations with remarkable writers|
|Number of Pages||:||448 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Speaking Volumes: Conversations with remarkable writers Reviews
The writer interview is such a compelling art form. When it’s done right, it not only provides readers with a unique glimpse into the inner life of those who have moved, titillated, enticed, touched, and gutted us, but it is also, often, instructive, thought-provoking, and a powerful insight into the creative process itself. Ramona Koval always does it right. Her interviews are lengthy, pithy, and full of insight – a kind of discourse that stands on its own. This is due, not only to the interviewees, which include some of the most lauded writers of the 21st Century, but partly because of the way in which Koval gets them to open up their lives. These interviews help illuminate the books they discuss and provide insights into characters and themes, but they also take a broader perspective, taking authors on a journey through their pet peeves, interests, political affiliations, through literary analysis and into the heart of the authors’ humanity, their private lives, and the way in which they create. The twenty eight writers whose interviews were chosen for this book are, without exception, extremely well known and respected. Some were interviewed in their last years, such as Joseph Heller, Judith Wright, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, John Mortimer, and Harold Pinter. There is a bittersweet element to these interviews – the authors talking candidly, often with a strong sense of their impending end and of the need to say certain things in a public forum. Judith Wright in particular, provides a poignant interview, struggling with deafness and visual impairment through an interview that involved writing out questions in large letters on a whiteboard and then struggling with the responses and transcription. Nevertheless, the result for the reader is fluid and transcendent as Wright talks about the teaching of poetry, about her work and the way in which it has been positively and negatively used, the value of nature, emotion and why she stopped writing poetry. Harold Pinter has two interviews, and they present as almost a continuation of a single discussion. He’s lucid and energetic in both interviews, talking particularly powerfully on the political abuse of language:I think what we’re talking about there is extraordinary, fundamental hypocrisy, and a misunderstanding of language altogether – or a distortion of language, or abuse of language—which is in itself extremely destructive, because language leads us, politically, it leads us into all sorts of fields. (184)A common theme through many of these older, canonical writers, is their failure to achieve their great ambitions with language. Always these writers are pushing past their capabilities, aiming to reach some kind of enduring greatness; what Saul Bellow calls “an entire purgation of my system”. Malcolm Bradbury talks about the basic truths, while John Banville talks about the powerful struggle, and the quickening of the world. There are many gems throughout the book—words of wisdom that are so wise that they resonate off the page (into my notebook in many cases). Jeanette Winterson, for example, talks about ‘creative continuum’:My view is that there’s a creative continuum which is central to life and that we’re hard wired in our DNA to be creative. Now there are different dilutions and doses of creativity, and in some people creativity is much stronger than in others, and those people tend to be the people who turn out to be the artists. But all of us want to participate, I think, in this creative continuum. (351)Hanif Kureishi provides advice on plotting, John Banville talks about the value of death, and Martin Amis discusses the particular value of the poet: what the poet does is slow things down and really examine the moment with meticulous care and meticulous meaning, beset by small fears, and really try locate a moment of significance. (309)The book isn’t all about business though. Many of the writers provide intimate and personal glimpses of their lives, and are often quite funny. Saul Bellow comes very close to asking Koval on a date. Les Murray takes Koval on a fast paced tour of his home – the land, and even the grave of his ancestors. Toni Morrison talks about why she kept her pen name. Anne Enright discusses sex and why it’s so prevalent in her books. Barry Lopez talks passionately about global warming. Always Koval begins the process by establishing a sense of safety and trust in the author which leads to a tremendous intimacy and honesty on the part of the interviewee. Every interview is a pleasure, full of insight and wisdom. This is a delightful book that bridges the gap between author and reader. Article first published as Book review: Speaking Volumes: Conversations with Remarkable Writers by Ramona Koval on Blogcritics.
Ramona Koval is a successful journalist, radio broadcaster, published author and editor. During her career she has interviewed countless authors (here and overseas) and is one of Australia's biggest names in books and literature.Speaking Volumes - Conversations with Remarkable Writers is just that, a collection of interviews with some famous and some fascinating writers from across the globe.My favourite interview from the collection was without doubt her interview with Les Murray, conducted in 1997. Les takes Ramona on a tour of his area, and her questions throughout reveal so much about the famous Australian poet, and was quite nostalgic too.I was impressed by just how well Ramona appears to have prepared prior to each interview, demonstrating an exhaustive knowledge of her interviewee's writing without showing off. Even the writers being interviewed are sometimes surprised that she has read this or that particular work.I was surprised and very interested to read the following quote from Martin Amis on page 309, that he: "tend[s] to read a generation behind usually" because: "time hasn't had time to weed out the excellent from the not-so-excellent..." Readers who try to stay on reading trend and only read latest releases should bear this in mind.Published in 2010, my only complaint about Speaking Volumes was that so many of the interviews were conducted more than a decade ago. This passage of time doesn't mean the interviews aren't worth reading today, however I would have really enjoyed the inclusion of more recent material.I recommend Speaking Volumes to readers looking to discover new authors, book-lovers who enjoy author interviews or the aspiring writer looking for pearls of wisdom or the inspiration behind some great authors.
Romana Koval doesn’t quite accomplish her own goal of perfection in interviewing by her own definition of removing herself from the narrative and bringing forth the subject. Her opinions are often pronounced and sometimes even judgmental. However I DID actually enjoy most of the interviews because she liked to highlight the personality of these authors usually more than discussing their specific works. It’s a mixed bag of interest, as it was bound to be.Not a one-sitting read but fun to read an interview at a time with lots to think about for every discussion with these truly Remarkable Writers.
I enjoyed what I read of this. I just dipped in and read the interviews of writers I like, such Vidal, Banville, Amis. As ever Ian McEwan comes across as a bit up himself - you'd think someone who wrote the ending to Amsterdam, the whole of On Chesil Beach and just about everything since Saturday would be more modest! The John Le Carre interview was surprisingly (to me) good.Ramona Koval prepares amazingly well for each interview. She seems to have read everything each author has written and everything they have ever said in public.
I enjoyed the first version of this collection (Tasting Life Twice) so much that I bought this ebook update to keep - the first was borrowed from the library.Several interviews for the first collection have been dropped and new ones added, making a stronger collection. In both collections I found authors whose work I had not read and which I would like to pursue. Joyce Carol Oates heads the list; I'd like to read at least one of Norman Mailer's novels as he rated them more highly than his nonfiction; Barry Lopez and Amos Oz who were previously unknown to me. And more. Thank you, Ramona.
Brilliant. I think I will buy it. Reread it. Put some postits in there to mark the names of authors I want to read. I love books that tell me about other books that I will probably love. Reassuring to know there will always be something wonderful out there to read.